I’ve never really thought of myself as the cruising type.
I’m not sure why. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I do know why.
I get claustrophobic – easily.
I’m not crazy about crowds – in fact, I dream of being alone until the day I die – no word of a lie.
I don’t like noise. I’m not into night clubs. I get sea sick.
So, like I say … not what you’d call the cruising type.
At least I wasn’t.
Nor will I likely experience peace and quiet any time soon. I’m thinking maybe in a decade or so – at best.
I no longer have the luxury of being claustrophobic either.
My house is full to the gills with Lego and sports equipment and Nerf guns and big-screen TVs and gaming equipment and rowdy boys who are on me 24-7. Literally on me. So, I have adapted to that too.
Oh, and I am now on a budget because like I said … kids.
Add it all together and you know what you have? The cruising type!
This will make what I’m going to say next that much more understandable.
Just recently I was offered the chance to go on a cruise with my two boys and I absolutely jumped at it.
I mean, I was over-the-moon excited. Who’d have guessed?
My boys … not so much.
Will there be wi-fi, will we have to talk to people, will it sink?
That’s about three seconds’ worth of the questions that lasted for roughly six weeks.
After a while I stopped answering and started saying, ‘Don’t know, doesn’t matter, you’re coming’.
And that’s exactly what happened.
The three of us, our little family, went on a cruise.
Our specific cruise was aboard the Carnival Spirit.
This is a cruise ship designed for families such as ours – and that’s exactly who was on board.
Dozens of families with kids ranging from babies though to surly teens. And it was kind of fun to see them all on board together – a little like a giant holiday camp, only parents were included too.
The atmosphere was terrific. Right from the dock. Is that what it’s called? A dock? Where you get on the boat? I don’t know, but it was very noticeable.
There were staff members everywhere you turned and they were smiley and helpful and knew the answer to everything.
Our bags were collected, we found our little cabin and then, the party began.
On top and at the front of the ship, which also has some special name I cannot recall, the wind was whipping and suddenly we were gliding away from Sydney and out to sea, over-sized Pina Coladas in our hands.
Well, my hands anyway.
My reluctant boys were giddy with excitement. And that really is how the entire trip panned out.
There was a lot of running about the ship and exploring and regularly getting lost. Those ships are HUGE and confusing and there’s deck, upon deck, upon deck. A lot of stairs – fancy stairs – but stairs nonetheless.
But it was all part of the fun really.
There were pools to splash in (three of them – one for adults only – yip), bars to sip drinks by and a fully kitted-out gym.
There was a spa. I had a massage. It was heaven.
The buffet was intense. No doubt.
Like I said, there’s a heck load of folk on this cruises and they like to hit the buffet at EXACTLY the same time if at all possible, but the food is delicious and also plentiful. Plus, if you’re willing to go a little later you can skip the rush.
There’s kids clubs for various ages and nightly entertainment.
There’s activities – ALL DAY LONG.
And burgers and an ice-cream machine. And did I mention Pina Coladas? You can get those too.
It’s a strange thing to try and explain unless you actually experience it but cruising is a little like a world unto itself. And weirdly, you genuinely fall in love with the staff who seem to love you right back.
There’s something terribly special about everyone knowing your name. I have no idea how they manage to do that but they do. And it makes you feel warm and wanted and I genuinely loved that.
The other thing about cruising is you can do as much or as little as you please – it’s entirely your choice.
We pulled into several different tropical islands over the eight days we were on board and explored each and every one.
They all had glorious water, sparkling white sand and friendly locals. There was even culture and history to learn about if you were that way inclined.
Mostly though we swam and ate and got to know one another again.
Each evening in our little cabin we curled up in our beds and I read to the boys. Something I’ve not done since they were teeny tiny. And while a very small cabin and some very large boys, plus an easily irritated mama can get tricky, it’s also quite special in its own way.
You’re forced to bond and that’s exactly what we did….
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